Guest Author: Tina DeSalvo
Today’s guest author’s career in journalism spanned twenty-five years, and she had a huge variety of roles—covering floods and hurricanes with national broadcasts on major national broadcasters CNN, NBC and CBS, as well as being a play by play sports announcer for basketball and football!
I met Tina DeSalvo briefly at my first RT Convention in New Orleans back in 2014, but it was at a post-convention soiree in Las Vegas, hosted by Kathryn Falk, that we had a chance to chat and connect one-to-one. Tina is one of the warmest and most generous ladies you’ll ever meet. Along with Cherry Adair and Stella Barcelona, Tina set out to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer. All the profits of her first story, ‘Elli’ go to the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, and Tina even organised a breast screening bus at the RT Reno convention.
It’s lovely to have Tina as my guest on the blog today.
First, would you tell us about your next release “The Fathers of Victoria Gallen” and whether it posed any particular challenges to write?
Yes. Yes. And, Yes. LOL. I moved from contemporary to historical to write The Fathers of Victoria Gallen. That alone was a big challenge - being that I didn’t live in 1870’s Nevada nor did I live in 1870’s Boston. There was nothing to recall from my personal experiences.
The good news is - I love investigating - doing the research. I have to admit, it did often take me into the cyber-hole we all fall into sometimes as we detour from one thing to another. You know, “oh…THAT has nothing to do with my story, but it looks REALLY interesting.” The determined (some call it stubborn) part of me, persevered and got the story written. It was a true labor (or as I think of it, passion) of love.
The Fathers of Victoria Gallen is inspired from a trip to Virginia City and Lake Tahoe, Nevada years ago. While visiting, I heard many stories of individuals who lived, survived, thrived and belly-crawled during the pre and post gold and silver boom. Since that time, I had the story of the daughter of the town’s long-time painted lady, who was sent away as an infant with a fake story of her parents, so she could be raised as a respectable women. This daughter, Victoria, arrives unexpectedly one day to Two Moon Junction where her “Fathers” do what they can to get her to leave - before it is too late. Besides the research, the other challenges of this story are creating an historical mystery in that historical setting - complete with twists and turns, laughter, love and danger.
You’ve written two Christmas novels (“Hunt for Christmas” and “Christmas at the Inn on Cloud Hill”). With Christmas fast approaching, do you have any particular family Christmas traditions you’d like to share with us, or favourite Christmas movies?
I come from a loud, fun-loving Italian family and I married into a loud, fun-loving Cajun family. Both have incredible traditions. Mostly, involving food, of course. With my Italian family, we always enjoyed a big, hearty Lasagna on Christmas Day, along with an delicious assortment of homemade Italian cookies that we had gathered to bake at my Aunt Stella’s house. My husband’s Cajun family enjoys what we think of as more traditional Christmas food - Gumbo, Oyster Dressing, Turkey, Shrimp and Mirlton, and incredible deserts. I have some of the recipes for the Cajun dishes on my website if you’d like to give them a try. tinadesalvo.com
I was amazed to hear about one of your adventures while you were a journalist where you were ‘hoisted from a bobbing ship in the Gulf of Mexico onto an oil platform on a small round tire-like tube to get a perfect video of an oil platform emergency drill”. My gosh! My adrenalin is running just thinking about it! Do you think this experience, or any other from your journalism days will ever feature in one of your stories?
HaHa. I’m sure if I can figure out how to include an offshore scene of the heroine being lifted from a supply boat to an oil platform or landing by helicopter on a super-tanker, I will. And, of course, in one my books, the heroine would have to be completely out-of-her element…maybe because instead of getting into the scheduled sight-seeing helicopter, followed the wrong person and climbed aboard the oil company one. LOL.
Seriously, I’ve been fortunate to have had many exciting and, dare I say, stupid experiences. But, it’s the people I’ve met from my work and personal life that inspire me the most. My books are strongly character driven. As a journalist, I have met many, many amazing people during their most challenging, triumphant and unusual times. There have been incredibly colorful people with complicated and simple lives. What and how they did things, inspired me and left lasting impressions. Most definitely, combinations of these people have made it into my books as well as many of their challenges. I also enjoy including what I think of as “news features” in my books. It’s that bit of information I get to weave into the story of the traditions, geography, history, and jobs that help make a story dimensional and, I hope, interesting.
Elli, the second chance series, was a story which grew from your experience as being diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer back in 2008. What’s your main message to women who are fighting breast cancer?
Be Hopeful. You have every reason to believe you will survive - Fight the Fight. Have HOPE! Don’t let the fear rob you of it.
Be an advocate for yourself and speak up to be an active member in your medical care. You have every reason to trust your instincts, that inner voice, that tells you when something isn’t right or more needs to be done. I have heard stories, many of them, where a person spoke up to get a test or treatment that wasn’t recommended, but they knew in their heart they needed it…and it saved their lives!
What’s next for you as an author?
Thank you for your time, Tina! I’ll look forward to seeing you at the Booklovers Con in NOLA in May!
Thank you Alyssa. I appreciate you inviting me to be a guest here. It’s been fun. I look forward to seeing you in my hometown at Booklovers Con in New Orleans! And, I hope you come Second-Lining with me on the opening night!
For more information about Tina and her books, visit tinadesalvo.com
Tina has kindly offered to giveaway an Amazon Gift Voucher. To be in the running for the giveaway, just leave a comment below between now and December 1st. All comments will go in the draw and the winner will be drawn at random. Check back on December 1st for the announcement of the winner. The winner will need to then contact me with their details by December 5th or a re-draw will occur.
Thank you for visiting the blog today. I hope you'll join me next week my next guest author, Sonali Dev. Until then...Happy Reading!
Alyssa J. Montgomery